08 Jun


Details and Order:

Publishers Weekly:

In Lyle’s ingenious third mystery featuring retired major league pitcher Jake Longly (after 2017’s A-List), Jake, who runs a restaurant in Gulf Shores, Ala., is again roped into working for his father Ray’s PI firm. An attorney has contacted Ray on behalf of Billy Wayne Baker, a convicted serial killer. Though Baker pleaded guilty to strangling seven women, he insists that he killed only five of them, and wants that assertion validated. When Jake meets Baker in prison, the murderer refuses to name the other killer, claiming that doing so would lead to accusations that Jake’s inquiries were biased. The investigator’s task is made even harder by Baker’s not even identifying which of the dead women were killed by someone else . (To his credit, Lyle makes this complicated scenario credible.) Along with his girlfriend, Jake travels to Pine Key, Fla., the scene of three of the strangulations, where the couple pretends to be researching a documentary examining the impact of the killings on the small community. The clever plot twists will surprise even genre veterans. This entry is the best in the series so far. 


Doug Lyle’s criminally entertaining Sunshine State (Oceanview) welcomes back his investigative team of Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison with a heavier touch and darker tone he handles with wit and aplomb. 

As Tim Dorsey and Carl Hiaasen have aptly shown, Florida seems to be where all the country’s weirdness calls home. Good thing Longly and Jamison call it home too and they’re going to need all their sleuthing skills when they find themselves in a small coastal town riddled by murders. The fact that Billy Wayne has already confessed to the crimes puts a crimp in their efforts, until his story starts to unravel and the stalwart team realizes a killer might still be out there, about to claim his, or her, next victim.

Sunshine State sizzles with just the right mix of action and mystery, a rollicking roller-coaster ride on a track lined with thrills and spills.

Authors On The Air Book Review Crew Review:

In this newest installment of the Jake Longly series, Jake is faced with his most bizarre case yet. Longly Investigations is hired by an anonymous benefactor to prove that notorious serial killer Billy Wayne Baker only committed 5 of the 7 murders he confessed to. The investigation brings them to a small coastal town of Pine Key, Florida, where 3 of the 7 murders occured. What they uncover here is more than they expected.

Lyle is a savant of description, never leaving out any detail, fully immersing you in the storyline and the lives of his characters. The suspense built slowly and carefully, only giving a small hint of the truth at a time. I kept guessing until the very end, and I was still wrong! I love that while this is a series, the author gave enough back story that it can be read as a stand-alone novel. I highly recommend this book. Heck, I highly recommend this author in general.

Library Journal Review

In Lyle’s third “Jake Longly” story (Deep Six; A-List), Jake, former major league fastballer and now sometime PI for his father’s detective firm, and girlfriend Nicole pursue a bizarre case. Convicted mass murderer Billy Wayne Baker wants his crimes reexamined, claiming he didn’t kill seven women, only five, even though he confessed to all the killings. He cheerfully admits he’s a murderer but doesn’t want his record besmirched. Nicole and Jake head to the small Gulf Coast town of Pine Key, FL. Three killings occurred there, not one, Billy Wayne’s modus operandi was to kill once, then move on. So who might have murdered the other two, and how can they get people to talk? Working for Billy Wayne won’t do it. Enter Nicole’s Uncle Charles, TV producer. The PIs arrive in town posing as an advance team for a proposed television documentary on the lives of the victims, not the murderer. Here Jake proves his worth: people like talking to him, and he and Nicole need them to talk. That and the 80-mile-an-hour remnant of Jake’s formerly 100- mile-an-hour fastball are Jake’s strengths: both of which he uses to his advantage in this loosey-goosey detective story. VERDICT This attractive PI thriller should appeal to lovers of detective fiction.

Kirkus Review:

A third case takes the ever reluctant “sort of a P.I.” Jake Longly and his girlfriend, Nicole Jamison, from Gulf Shores, Alabama, to a tiny Florida town on what sure looks like a fool’s errand. 

Billy Wayne Baker, who’s doing seven consecutive life sentences in the Union Correctional Institute for a two-year spree of rape and murder, insists that he’s the victim of rank injustice: He only killed five of those women. 

Ordinarily, his protestations would fall on indifferent ears, but they’ve managed to intrigue a wealthy fan who’s willing to pay Longly Investigations, the brainchild of Jake’s father, to revisit Billy Wayne’s checkered history. There are a couple of caveats that would turn away anyone but Jake, whose professed distance from his father keeps getting overridden by his willingness to work with him (A-List, 2017, etc.). Ray Longly’s client wants to remain anonymous, and Billy Wayne refuses to reveal which of his two alleged victims were actually somebody else’s. His averral that he doesn’t want to prejudice the investigation makes no sense, but it does set up the promise of a highly original kind of mystery that, sadly, Lyle resolves before you can bleat “wrongly accused,” narrowing the field of possible outlier victims with indecent haste so that Jake, Ray, and his behemoth operative, Pancake, can get down to the infinitely less interesting business of ignoring more than half the murders in order to place virtually every citizen of Pine Key, Florida, under a microscope, provoking an eighth homicide along the way, so that they can determine whodunit. 

If you can overlook the wildly implausible premise, medical specialist Lyle provides suitably gossipy small-town atmosphere, straightforward plotting, a likable, wisecracking hero, and, of course, solid forensics. But that’s an awful lot to overlook. 

SUNSHINE STATE Indie Forward Review

Reluctant but effective PI Jake Longly journeys to a sleepy Florida town to prove that a murderer didn’t commit all of the crimes credited to him. Billy Wayne Baker—a self- confessed and convicted serial killer—professes that he only killed five people. Longly and his allies discover that Baker’s MO demanded one kill per town before he moved on to the next—but in Pine Key, three women were murdered. Longly and his girlfriend adopt documentarian personas to ascertain if Baker is playing games or if someone used his killing spree as a cover. 

The unlikely premise becomes an interesting hook for Longly Investigations, whose team focuses on determining which of Pine Key’s seemingly benign citizens had the means and motive to take advantage of Baker’s killing spree. Longly and crew’s cover allows them to interview and investigate without raising flags until they uncover key evidence. Another murder occurs, leading to a satisfying climax. 

This mystery is the third in its series, providing strong context and characterization to entice new readers. The relationships between the major characters build well, with subtle callbacks to previous adventures. Longly anchors the story alongside his girlfriend and PI father. 

The social dynamics of Pine Key steal the spotlight. Following 

Longly’s investigation provides ample opportunity for humanizing and casting doubt on several of the townspeople, and multiple suspects rise to the top, even though the team struggles to find proof. Snappy dialogue, fantastic scene setting, and polished prose set the action without hampering the pace. 

Sunshine State is an enjoyable murder mystery filled with heart and humor. JOHN M. MURRAY (May/June 2019)

Sunshine State Booklist Review

As serial killers go, Billy Wayne Baker could out-nice even Ted Bundy. Those who meet him and live use words like pleasant and engaging and note that “he even has small hands.” Hard to believe he murdered seven women. Billy Wayne claims he didn’t— there were no more than five. He had to confess to seven, he says, to avoid the death penalty. Now he wants those two taken off his list, so he asks author Lyle’s series hero, ex- baseballer and unconfident PI Jake Longly, to uncover the truth. 

Jake and his cohorts—lover Nicole plus a pal named Pancake plus Dad, who’s a real PI—travel to a picturesque village on the Gulf Coast, only to find that the evidence of Baker’s guilt is overwhelming. The investigation, the evidence, the autopsies—all were flawless. Of course, it unravels, thanks in part to a chance conversation accidentally overheard. Meantime, readers

are asked to tag along on a genially sybaritic investigation oiled by Blanton bourbon, R & J cigars, and Louisiana po’boys. It’s all told in appropriately low-key prose. Until the finale, that is.

— Don Crinklaw

Linda’s Book Reviews

PI Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison are faced with a unique, unheard of investigation. Well known serial killer, Billy Wayne Baker, confessed to seven murders in order not to go to trial. Residing in prison now, his lawyer contacts Longly and team. Baker now says that 2 of those murders were not done by him.. but he won’t tell them which victims. He says he knows who did them but he won’t tell them that. either. 

So where to start? Baker’s victims were really spread out. According to him, he would sneak in, commit the murder and promptly leave town before he was caught. But there was one place that was hit multiple times, leaving three dead women…..that’s where they think they will be. 

Will they be able to find the real killer of two of these victims .. or is Baker playing a game? 

An ex-big league ballplayer, now a beach bar owner, and working for his dad as a reluctant private investigator, Jake Longly brings his smarts, his good looks, and his sense of humor to the table. Nicole is a smart woman, loves her work helping out the PIs, and she has a playfulness that can’t be denied. Pancake is a lifelong friend of Jake’s .. a mountain of a man who eats 24 hours a day. He also works for Ray Longly, who owns the PI family business. 

All the characters are finely drawn… quirky in a multitude of ways …. and the small town where all the action takes place is charming. This is not an action-packed thriller with guns blasting and road races with police cars. There is mystery, there is some suspense … but it’s more like a fine wine that slowly warms your insides. 

Although third in the 3-book trilogy, this can easily be read as a stand-alone. I’ve read a different series by this author, but I’m looking forward to reading the first two books in this one.

Many thanks to the author / Oceanview Publishing / Edelweiss for the digital copy of this humorous crime fiction. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own. 

Midwest Book Review

“Jake Longly and Nicole Jamison are confronted with the most bizarre case yet. Serial killer Billy Wayne Baker now denies that two of his seven murders were actually his work. An anonymous benefactor, who believes Billy Wayne’s denials, has hired Longly Investigations to prove Billy Wayne right. Billy Wayne had confessed to all seven. Not only did the confessed serial killer have the motive, means, and opportunity for murder, but his DNA was found at each crime scene. Bizarre doesn’t quite cover it. Jake and Nicole travel to the small Gulf Coast town of Pine Key, Florida, where three of the murders occurred. The local police, FBI, state prosecutor, and crime lab each did their jobs, uncovered overwhelming evidence of Billy Wayne’s guilt―and even extracted a full confession. Is Billy Wayne simply trying to tweak the system to garner another fifteen minutes of fame? It’s likely all a game to him, but, if he’s being truthful― someone out there is getting away with multiple murders. How? Why? And most importantly, who? Dark clouds loom in the Sunshine State. D. P. Lyle’s “Sunshine State” is another deftly penned suspense thriller of a read by a master of narrative storytelling. While unreservedly recommended as an addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “Sunshine State” is also available in a digital book format.”—Midwest Book Review 

BookBub KCaprero

“Sunshine State” by D. P. Lyle is book three in the “Jake

Longly” series, but it has enough suspense and hilarious antics that new readers will have no trouble following Jake and friends along the Gulf Shore.

“Sunshine State” is largely Jake Longly’s first person narrative, and he obligingly introduces himself and the various players. He talks to himself; he talks to others, and he talks to readers. He shares, strategizes, plans, and sometimes even thinks. The plot is conversation driven, so readers know what he says to people and what they say to him. He comments on everything, including what he thinks about people, the case, and the food.

Jake begrudgingly works for his father at Longly Investigations but prefers working at his bar on the sand on the Gulf Shore. Longly Investigations now has a very unusual case, one filled with mystery and intrigue, one that makes absolutely no sense. A serial killer in a Florida prison wants to prove that he only killed five people instead of seven. Since someone is footing the bill for the investigation, Jake and his familiar crew head

off to check out the multiple murders, multiple players, and multiple conspiracies. Readers follow along as the case unfolds with the clues and the miscues, the revelations and the theories.

There is plenty of humor starting with the players, “This is Tommy Jeffers. Folks call him Pancake.” And their feelings about the situation, “More like an exchange program. We can ship them a couple of liquored-up good old boys complete with pick-up trucks, and they could send us a serial killer.”

Lyle immerses readers in the geography of the area with relaxed and flowing descriptions, “The air held a salty must, and a gentle breeze came off the water. The sky was blue and pock- marked with wads of fluffy clouds”

“Sunshine State” is an entertaining book, with a proposition so outrageous and improbable that readers are compelled to turn the pages to see just how this absurdity plays out. I received a review copy of “Deep Six” from D. P. Lyle, and Oceanview Publishing. It is not a headache-inducing thriller; it is an entertaining book to read, considering it is about a serial killer, of course. Jake and his cohorts are not intense investigators, dedicated sleuths, or even excessively thoughtful; they are just fun.—Katie Caprero BookBub

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Posted by on June 8, 2019 in Writing


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